Practise what you preach?
PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV’S PUZZLING PREACHING?
by Sasha Uzunov
Bulgaria’s outgoing President, Rosen Plevneliev, in a bizarre and some would say, hypocritical, parting shot has called for Macedonia to drop “Macedonianism” if it wants Bulgaria’s support for joining the European Union. see link here
At the heart of the matter is Bulgaria’s historical refusal to accept a Macedonian identity even though it was the first to recognise Macedonia’s independence in 1991 from the then crumbling Yugoslavia.
The Bulgarian formula is that the Macedonians are allegedly “Western Bulgarians” and the Republic of Macedonia is like Kosovo is to Albania, Montenegro and Republika Srpska in Bosnia are to Serbia.
HISTORICAL MACEDONIAN HEARTLAND
Macedonia had fallen under Ottoman Turk occupation for five hundred years. Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria started the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 which led to the end of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Macedonia was then divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. Albania took a tiny slice in 1919. Macedonians were then subjected to a brutal campaign of denationalisation and forced assimilation by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. Resistence broke out. The territory that was annexed by Serbia was renamed Južna Srbija, "Southern Serbia". In 1944, Macedonia was elevated, mostly in part by its own efforts, to republican status within MarshalTito’s Communist Yugoslavia. Though nominally the nation-state of the Macedonian people its autonomy was limited by federalist power in Belgrade. In 1991 that part became the independent state of the Republic of Macedonia.
BULGARIA’S NAZI PAST - a touchy subject !
Bulgaria remains very prickly about its collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II (1941-44) which saw a brutal Bulgarian occupation of Macedonia displace equally brutal Serb and Greek colonial rule in the parts taken over by Bulgaria, as well as Bulgaria’s role in the genocide of Macedonia’s one thriving centuries old Sephardic Jewish community. With the war lost, Bulgaria cynically changed sides - in fact it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army in September 1944.
During World War II, a Macedonian partizan resistance movement - an uneasy alliance of communists and nationalist banded together to fight the Germans, Bulgarian, Italians and the quisling Albanian nationalist militia the Balle Kombetar. After the war, the communists then turned on their erstwhile nationalist allies, jailing some its leaders such as the hugely popular Metodija Andonov Cento, during an infamous Stalinist style political show trial in Yugoslavist administered Macedonia. His conviction was overturned in 1990.
1942 massive Macedonian resistence against the Bulgarian occupation. Nazi Germany sends in the dreaded Gestapo.
The Newcastle Sun (Australia), Monday, 14 September 1942, Page 1. see link here
American newspaper archives - Font page - The Daily Banner newspaper, Indiana, 14 September 1942. Macedonian guerillas (Partizans) attempt assassination.
7 September 1942 - the Macedonian Partizan operation that nearly removed one of Hitler's Holocaust Henchmen - the evil Petur Gabrovski, Interior Minister in the Bulgarian occcupation of Macedonia during World War II.
According to prominent Macedonan historian Dr Todor Cepreganov, Macedonian Partizans from the "Dimitar Vlahov" unit tried to assassinate the dreaded Gabrovski on a visit to occupied Macedonia.
Gabrovski collaborated in the rounding up of Macedonia’s Jews and in handing them over to the Nazis for extermination.
The attempt on Gabrovski failed and in revenge the Bulgarian occupation authorities launched a brutal campaign of reprisals which was met with fierce resistance.
The Bulgarian press at the time labelled the Macedonian resistance as “Bulgarian communists” whilst in the some sections of the British press the Royal Yugoslav government in exile in London tried to take the credit…
In 1996, as an insult to Macedonian Jews and Gentiles alike, the Bulgarian High Court rehabilitated Gabrovski.
For a short period, whilst Yugoslavia was still in the Soviet camp (1946-48), Bulgaria recognised a Macedonian nationality. After Tito’s split with Soviet leader Stalin in 1948-49, Bulgaria changed its tune over the Macedonians. Interesting to note that Bulgaria unto the early 1960s kept population details of ethnic Macedonians.
1965 US STATE DEPARTMENT SECRET REPORT ON BULGARIA-GREECE BORDER. - located in the National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au
The US report, quoting the Bulgarian national census of 1956, lists total population of Bulgaria as 7,613,709
POST 1991 EVENTS
Bulgarian nationalist propaganda has tried to make inroads into post independence Macedonia with “missionaries” such as Kressimir Karakachanov (pictured above) and his offsider Angel Djambazki attending celebrations in Macedonia over the Ilinden Uprising of 2 August 1903 which unsuccessfully saw Macedonian rebels try to throw off centuries of Ottoman Turkish occupation. Ilinden remains the foundation legend of the modern Macedonian state, as Gallipoli is for Australia, the War of Independence of 1776 is for the United States.
Karakachanov provocatively and wrongfully claims the Macedonian rebels in the Ilinden Uprising were Bulgarians. No counter protests have ever been held by leading Macedonian “internationalists” such as Borjan Jovanovski or Branko Geroski over deliberate Bulgarian nationalist activity in the Republic of Macedonia. Both major Macedonian parties, the nominally “nationalist VMRO-DPMNE and the Social Democrats, SDSM, have remained passive - perhaps fearing Bulgarian blackmail in blocking EU membership.
So President Plevneliev’s comment is out of place…and out if line. Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski has reacted in a kind of warm and fuzzy manner, not wanting to disturb the grumbling Bulgarian political bear but letting Sofia know the President’s comments are not warranted. see link here
The Bulgarian neo-Nazi Ataka Party, led by dangerous extremist Volen Siderov, also has staunch anti Macedonian views to go along with a hatred of Roma, Jews and Freemasons. see link here
Ljubco Georgievski, the former Macedonian Prime Minister (1998-2002) and ex leader of VMRO-DPMNE, is seen as an advocate of “Bulgarianism” in Macedonia. Accusations were levelled against him in conspiring with Albanian nationalists in provoking the 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising in order to defacto partition the country and leave it susceptible to Bulgarian subversion. see link here
Others, too, such as British academic James Pettifer, have warned of a Bulgarianist faction that set up within Macedonia’s VMRO-DPMNE party in 1997. - (Cited in Pettifer - “The New Macedonian Question,” Springer, 1999, page 145).
In 2013 - the US Senate Select Committee -intelligence assessment on global threats - US monitored growing tensions between Macedonia and Bulgaria. see link here
2007 - EUROPEAN UNION ADMISSION - Political expedience ?
How Bulgaria got into the EU with one of the most corrupt judicial systems is beyond belief. see links here and here.
Plus the many criticisms of Bulgaria’s mistreatment of its Macedonian minority… In 2006 “Bulgaria has stepped up its campaign of blatant racism and intimidation against its large Macedonian minority only months before its acceptance into the European Union…” see link here and here
It got into the EU because Bulgaria’s ruling elite replaced the old Soviets for new US masters as well as allowing joint US military bases on its territory.
Bulgaria was one of the most loyal of Soviet satellite states during the Cold War with a rumoured plan to turn Bulgaria into a republic of the Soviet Union at the time. But out of its own self interest it has changed masters at the end of the Cold War and aligning itself with the West. But it is a cynical marriage of political convenience to cut off Russian influence in the Balkans.